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In this part 3 of Narrative Fueled By Actors, I explore the possibilities of creating a narrative by using the concept of a narrative énoncé which uses actors and functions to create the base structure of a narrative.

Christian Arca, Blogger

July 30, 2009

16 Min Read

In this part 3 of Narrative Fueled By Actors, I explore the possibilities of creating a narrative by using the concept of a narrative énoncé which uses actors and functions to create the base structure of a narrative. More specifically how pre-determined knowledge of an Actor can generate a new narrative and perhaps lead to the possibility of creating a procedural narrative. If you missed the past posts, you may find it here: Narrative Fueled By Actors and Narrative Fueled By Actors Part 2.  


Narrative Énoncé

What is it? - Narrative énoncé can be described as simply being a paraphrastic frame. The paraphrastic frame for narrative énoncé is as follows:

Narrative Énoncé = (Function) (Actants)

Given what a narrative énoncé is, it is conceivable that through a serious of énoncés, a narrative is developed. The narrative énoncé attributes a sphere of action where sphere is provisionally understood as a network of Proppian functions to its actant. Therefore the actor / actant can be a hero, a villain, mistress, damsel, or even fate or a ‘god’. If we were to take the Old Testament into example, ‘God’ is an actor however, is not a human but still takes part in the narrative and sets forth actions which have functions themselves. ‘God’ for example interacts with Moses and creates an actanial relationship there such that a narrative is developed, and Moses creates the Ten Commandments, and leads his people to the ‘promised land’. An interpretation which could be made is that it seems that all characters would require a sphere thus, all characters would require a narrative énoncé and all its prerequisites. Thus, all actors have their own narrative énoncé such that all actors have a network of Propppian functions associated with them. However, do not limit an actant’s functions to just Proppian functions. Instead, think of an actant’s functions as discussed within the actor driven narrative, they are roles which actants take on.

Within a narrative énoncé the relationships which are made between the predicator and the arguments may be addressed as dependencies. These dependencies alone comprise the formal organization of the stratification in semantic-conceptual networks. If we were to make assumptions regarding the universality of these dependencies this would allow the use of roles and actants as a basic predictive or explanatory mechanism which can be made available to generate reason, narrative, and rationale. By having the ability to have such a mechanism in place this opens up various opportunities for us in how to generate narrative. This would be done by having a questioner in place which interrogates the action which is to be done by an actor. Thus, the question would result in formulating answers based on the actor’s role, and persona. So if an actor / actant were to say “I am going” a reasonable inquiry would be “where?”.

Unlike before while talking about an actor driven narrative, narrative énoncé focuses a bit more on grammar and language and uses it to understand when to employ the predictive mechanism. This is not a replacement for an actor driven narrative. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as a predictive mechanism as the one described above would analyze an actor’s language in such a way that rationale and even future actions could be generated for an actor to take. So it is to say that a questioner mechanism could be used as a mechanism to formulate basic information based on the actor’s ‘knowing’ procedurally. However to yield such a result it is imperative that the structure of the questions would have to be carefully constructed so that the nature of each question which followed the given information would in some manner be linked to the given information. Otherwise, the questioner mechanism would not produce relevant results. This is a point which I can not stress enough. Furthermore I believe that a hybrid model of STRIPS can be used to build the questioner mechanism. The questioner mechanism, is to be considered as part of each actor, and allows them to make decisions based on the actor knowledge.

Aside: The questioner could be considered part of the drama manager as well. However, it serves the purpose also of aiding the actor in making decisions. I suppose that we could think about the questioner as an actor based drama manager since I think we as actors also have drama managers embedded within us. So perhaps there are two drama managers? One for the actor and then one for the environment or world. The actor one deals solely on actor’s choices and decisions and the environment one deals with the introduction of characters into environments.

The predictive questioner mechanism is related to narrative énoncé as well as practical syllogism. Within narrative énoncé an object of desire is stated which an actor is required to or has the motivation to complete or take action upon. Through stative declarations we can assess what is possible as well as probable allowing us to create a set of logical questions which the questioner would ask. (A stative declaration being one which asserts a fact or a basic set of knowledge. For example, I am tired asserts that I am in the state of being tired.) Narrative énoncé is a method which should be used in practical syllogism and while it can stand alone, it is required to be used cooperatively to create an intriguing narrative based on actors.

Let us formulate an example so that we may better understand what the questioner mechanism is to do. The following is a brief analysis of the Actor Me and my knowing in a particular state.

Actor Me:

- I live in New York. (These are statives)

- I have a friend named Sean. (These are statives)

- Sean lives in Florida. (These are statives)

- I want to visit Sean next week. (This, is the object of desire)

- I have a car. (These are the ‘cans’ or what is possible.)

- I can drive. (These are the ‘cans’ or what is possible.)

- I have money. (These are the ‘cans’ or what is possible.)

- I can fly. (These are the ‘cans’ or what is possible.)

- I am not afraid of flying. (These are the ‘cans’ or what is possible.)

- I love driving.

The last bullet, “I love driving” is both stative, and is establishing an object of desire. Due to the word love, the weight of that stative is higher and thus modal logic comes into play which can make it an object of desire. Since, I love driving I can now seek about a way so that I may drive within the narrative and therefore, create a narrative based on a journey of my driving to Florida. As you can see, it is both the work of narrative enonce and practical syllogism which allow the above to come about.

The following would be a set of logical questions which the questioner would ask.

- How is Actor Me planning to reach Sean?

- The questioner mechanism in this case must query about my geographical knowing. This would result in the questioner knowing that I live in New York.

- Once the questioner is aware of my geographical knowing then it may formulate options for me to do based on my personality / persona.

- The questioner can ask does Actor Me like driving?

- Actor Me loves driving.

- The questioner can ask does Actor Me like flying?

- Actor Me is not afraid to fly.

- Thus, there are 2 options which the questioner has found. Let’s say that the questioner picks the strongest relationship thus the driving option.

- The questioner now knowing that I am going to drive can ask Which route is Actor Me going to take?

- By consulting my persona the questioner could reasonably generate a route for me to take and thus through predictive methods generate a narrative which involves my travels to Florida.

Aside: Since it seems as it is possible for having preferences such as ‘I love driving’ creating objects of desire perhaps this can be mixed into having a hybrid narrative which is actor driven and desire / object driven as it seems that all narrative while powered or driven by actors requires there to be an object of desires to drive these actors.

This shall be followed up with Narrative Fueled By Actors - Part 4 and will discuss the concept of practical syllogism for creating the base of a narrative.  

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